Google made a big splash with the announcement of the real-time search features it's rolling out over the course of a few days. Apart from the feature itself, there's another announcement that warrants some attention, Google has signed a deal with Facebook to integrate data from the world's biggest social network in the real-time search results. Considering that the two companies are shaping up to be the two major players online over the coming years, it's understandable that a partnership, even a limited one, is somewhat surprising.
Nevertheless, Facebook is the world's largest source for real-time information, even though Twitter gets most of the attention, and Google is the world's largest search engine, so some sort of deal should have been expected. However, Facebook won't be providing the bulk of its data, arguably the most important one as well, but only updates from Facebook Pages which are always public.
The Pages are used by companies, artists, organizations and so on to establish a presence on Facebook mostly for promotional purposes, which makes them less than ideal as a real-time information source. Facebook updates from regular users, even the public entries, won't be included in the Google real-time search results for now, though they may be in the future.
Facebook allows Microsoft, which is an investor in the company, to index and display all public updates. That deal is not exclusive though, so a wider partnership between Google and Facebook is not unfeasible and even likely at some point. Apparently, no money was exchanged between Google and Facebook, though the search giant refused to comment on that matter.
Facebook isn't the only social network to sign a deal with Google. MySpace is also providing the search engine with data and is even allowing it to access all of the public entries from all of its users. As previously reported, Twitter has signed a deal with Google to provide it with full access to all public tweets and the deal has now come into fruition with the launch of the real-time search features.